Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thank You Mr. Boyce

I remember the time that Robert's daddy had to come to our house and get us out of a locked bathroom. Two young kids probably up to some kind of mischief got locked in the bathroom. My mother couldn't get the door opened from her side and we couldn't do it from our side so she had to call Mr. Boyce.
He came over and in just a few minutes, got the door unlocked, however, I think by then Robert had climbed out the window several times to investigate options that would prevent us from spending the rest of our lives in a bathroom.

Robert's parents were always the cool parents. They were active in church and always involved in parties and programs and so forth. I always loved spending time at his house because his parents were so nice and involved. I had a great home life so it wasn't that I felt unloved or anything, it's just that my parents were older than all my friend's parents. In fact my father was the age of most of my friend's grandfathers. So, there's a lot we didn't do as I wrote in my last blog.

So all my life Robert's parents were always there ... until now. His dad went to be with the Lord last Friday, Decemeber 26th. He will forever be in my memories and I am thankful that he was a part of my life growing up and his influence was a positive one.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mark's birthday

Okay, I am really sorry that I haven't written in over a month.

Just in case somebody is kind enough to come back and check, I'll attempt to write a new blog.

Today is December 22nd and is my father's birthday. If he was living he would be 102 years old. He was 49 years old when I was born. So when I was 12 he was 61 which meant we didn't play ball together or go hunting or fishing. We didn't go to ball games or camping trips and I never walked on the beach with my daddy.
So, you may be saying, oh that's sad...well not really, we still had a great relationship. In fact i thought of my father as my best friend. Other's thought he was my granddaddy (which always made him mad) but he was my daddy.
I use to go to work with him...carry shingles on the roof for him and run little errands.
Daddy was an incredible pool player and had in fact played many times with several time world champion Wimpy Lassiter. Wimpy was from our town and in fact lived down the street from us. I asked daddy one time if he ever beat Wimpy and he humbly said he had. But he also said that if you play somebody enough times you are going to beat them occassionally. That may be true, but I never seemed to remember ever beating daddy.
Well, just a tribute to my daddy tonight.
I'll try to write more tomorrow.
I love you daddy and sure wish you could see my'd be proud.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night, 2008

It appears now at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night that the country has spoken. History has been made it would seem as Barack Obama is about to win this election. So, what now? It is clear
that we are to do what we should already be doing as believers and that is to pray for our leadership. That is what I'll be doing. Understand that I am not pleased with this decision our country has made and am more than a little concerned about our future as a nation.
But, I know that no man can be elected unless God allows it and if God has allowed this, he has a reason.
The landscape of America has most certainly changed tonight and we have interesting days ahead.
So, let's pray and continue to serve the Lord to the best of our ability and may God be glorified.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Civic Responsibility's out of my hands now... I have voted!!

Not much waiting this morning at about 9:00 but there was a good crowd there.

The media sure is doing their best to make me think my candidate doesn't have a chance but I can only hope that the American people will arise to the occassion.

Go vote!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Get it Together

Here are some tips on getting your life in order...

Take responsibility for your own actions ... quit blaming everything and every body else.

Quit playing games with God and relying on his mercy and grace to cover your own stupidity.

His grace is amazing ... but He does have a woodshed...don't believe Hebrews 12:6

Having a bad day and you think that qualifies you to do something immoral or unethical or ungodly or unholy? Wrong...that's when you should snuggle up to God and ask Him to carry you through...HE WILL!

Still asking yourself "Now, let's see, what do I want?" Quit that, instead ask "Now let's see, Holy Father, what do you want from me, for me, in me??"

Quit gazing at yourself and start focusing on the Savior...Let him gaze at you instead...He likes that because he loves you.

Okay, I feel better now...hope you do too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A few rambling thoughts.

Stock market is having some tough days
Politicians have lots to say
Gas is a little less high today
Jesus, I believe is on His way

Radical Islamic threats abound
Morality in the world is down
Lots of negative stuff around
Jesus, I believe is wearing His Crown

Prices are high, quality is low
Some say Alaska is losing it's snow
College graduates don't know where to go
Jesus trumpet is soon to blow

This little poem a reminder of sorts
To think about our eternal ports
Final judgement will not be in court
Jesus loves us and all our warts

So, have you asked Him in your heart?
Have you surrendered all your parts?
Have you received a brand new start?
Jesus, died and rose and thus did His part!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fired Up

We just completed our Seventh annual Bible Conference here. (Can you still call it annual if you skipped a year??)
Every year some of the speakers ask if there is a theme and the answer is yes but we'll let God pick it. It happened again this year, though I couldn't tell you in 3 or 4 words what the theme was I can tell you that the week simply dealt with the heart of the believer (at least for me it did) and that was awesome, seeing how I just completed a series on "The Hearbeat of God", then these four preachers came in and laid out our part in the equation.
So, our community should be looking for a change because this church has been challenged.

I pray that the fire will only glow brighter and grow hotter as... " the time is drawing nigh."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Celebrating my birthday

53 years ago today, my sweet mama gave birth to her fourth and final child. I was /am the baby of the family. Interesting that she had a miscarriage before me and after me. The one before I was born was on April 20 and the one that happened after she had me was on August 26th. Years later, after I grew up and got married, my oldest daughter was born on April 20th and my youngest daughter was born on August 26th. Amazing.

I love birthdays and today was good. Except that my wife has been suffering with migraines all weekend.

Great crowd at church this morning and the music was great. Tonight, our Bible Conference started and the music was good and the preaching...Dr. Kenneth Keathley...was awesome. We had a good crowd and tremendous response.

So, i am 53 and I feel every day of it. I have enjoyed the cake Dawn baked, the pie Toni made and the brownies that Judy cooked and the dip that Heather made. Life is good.

I am blessed beyond measure and thank my precious Lord for what a great life I have.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Love for My Country

An American Flag blowing in the wind raises my pride and my appreciation for this great Country. Patriotic music makes my lips quiver and my heart burn. I love this country. I have had the privilege of visiting five continents and several countries. I have had sub machine guns pointed in my belly and I have felt fear in some places and a truly broken heart when having to leave others. My greatest experience happened just months ago when I spent 10 days in the Holy Land. An unfortunate moment occurred when a little muslim boy spit on me. The reality that someone taught him to do that broke my heart, but I simply smiled at him and tried to express some love for that precious little fellow who has been taught hatred.

My daddy served this wonderful country in World War II living in a foreign land serving to protect the freedom of our nation and the safety of others. My brother did the same thing in Viet Nam and I am so proud of him. He still honors his country as a veteran and a Chief of Police.

I am offended when someone takes a stand against our country and then say they love it and want to lead it.

John McCain was not my first choice when this process began, but he is now. A war hero who has touched the lives of so many. A man who has worked for his country and takes hard stands on many issues. Some of those stands are not mine...but his convictions are appreciated and admired. Now with the lady from Alaska...OH MY GOODNESS... My pride has been refreshed and I can't wait to cast my vote.

I am scheduled to be out of the country on election day on a mission trip...but I will have already voted before going to South America and I will find a way to hear the news of the election results.

I pray with all my heart that McCain & Palin will be moving into the White House.

Pray for this country and for our leaders.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vice President Excitement

Oh My Goodness!!!
I am sitting here tonight, wiping tears from my face and laughing out loud at the same time. For the first time in a very long time, I had an excitement in my heart that I have hoped for.
Listing to Sarah Palin absolutely encouraged me. I don't know how much of that speech she wrote, but she delivered it with incredible power and conviction.
A war hero and a woman with strength and conviction...WOW!!!
Obama has been named the most liberal senator in 2007 and his voting record has been almost nonexistent. He sat for 20 years under a preacher who blasted white America as a regular activity. His past affiliations have been anti-American types and have you seen his new logo for his campaign jet...unbelievable.
Oh my, I want to vote tonight!!
On top of all this, I am watching CNN right now and they are actually giving very strong reports on her...Amazing!!!

McCain/Palin ... Rock On!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Be Careful little lips

Okay, first off, let me apologize to all of my reading public for being so late in writing a new entry. I hope both of you forgive me.

After hearing the news this morning that Mr. Obama has chosen his running the way, the fact that one of the candidates for president is younger than me is a little disturbing...but back to the point...I was reminded of four years ago. I remember when Mr. Edwards was asked while he was still running for the Democratic nomination, if he would consider being vice president. He made it very clear (I'm sure it could be easily retrieved somewhere online) that he had no intentions of running in the second spot and if offered he would very cleary turn the offer down. He was quite adament about it. Not many weeks later, he was gladly standing side by side with Mr. Kerry, hands in the air, with a watermelon sized smile...that's right, running for the second spot.

So, this morning, I couldn't help but sigh when they played a clip of Mr. Biden saying he had no interest in being the vice president and he WOULD NOT accept it if it was offered to him. Yet, 6 hours later...yepper, there he was arm in arm with Mr. Obama each with the other hand in the air and there it was...that same smile once owned by Mr. Edwards.

Hhhmmmm how soon we forget.

Reminds me of a little song we use to sing in Sunday School..."Oh Be Careful Little Lips What you say..."

Oh, they also played a clip where Mr. Biden once stated that Mr. McCain would make a good president. Wonder who he'll vote for.

Happy a happy day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

VBS - Special Memories

Tonight is our last night of Vacation Bible School 2008. Bible school always recalls great memories of my growing up years. I could always depend on attending 3 bible schools each summer. The church we attended, which was less then 3 blocks away and was Southern Baptist. Then there was a small Pentecostal Holiness church just 3 doors down from my house and the preacher lived next door so we went there. Every year a little independent Baptist church would bring a bus around our neighborhood and pick us up for their Bible School.

So, I have wonderful memories of this time-honored institution.

Things have changed over the years for sure. There is still a lot of work that goes into having a successful bible school and it takes a faithful team to do it. A speical thanks to all who participated and especially to Pam Keaton & Kris Rial for all their work.

We had over 100 children each night and many volunteers and people just hanging out. It is a special time for the kids.

So, tonight we go home after yet another year of hard work and good times. We pray that the families we have reached will make us a regular part of their lives. And we also hope that all of these children will carry some of the same wonderful memories that I have for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

See Dick and Jane run from the writings of Socrates

It is no secret to anyone who knows me well that I am a hopeless "book-aholic". I love books and I own quite a few. (If one of my former teachers were to read this, however, they would either laugh or pass out... as becoming a lover and reader of books only happened in my adult life)

Taking that a step farther, I have become a collector of old and rare books. I enjoy finding old, original print books and though my collection is relatively small, it is a passion of mine.

Yesterday, I acquired two books that were different in every measureable way.
One was published in 1946 and the other in 1937. The one printed in 1946 has writing and marks and stamps and smudges and doodling and ripped pages. The other is in pristine condition, with no markings or tears anywhere in the book. The one printed in 1946 has suffered back injury as it has been separated from the binding from heavy usage. The 1936 book is in perfect shape leading you to believe that it is only a year or two old.
The book published in 1946 is a small text book. The 1937 book is an academic contribution.
The title of the 1946 book is "Fun with Dick and Jane" and the 1937 book's title is "The Harvard Classics". This volumn includes "The Apology (of Socrates), Phaedo and Crito of Plato and The Golden Sayings of Epictetus and The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius."

The obvious response here is "No wonder there is such a difference in the condition of the books."
Who in the world would want to read such a deep, philosophical collection of thoughts not easily understood? Especially when you can enjoy the ventures of Dick and Jane and Baby Sally running around trying to catch a paper plane or surprise mother or father and say "Oh My, This is fun!" "See Dick and Jane read."

Well, this blog is not a slam on a dearly loved reading instrument enjoyed by millions of children growing up including this blogger, nor is it an indorsement of Greek Philosphers who acknowledge the existence of various gods or even none at all.

I simply found the comparison interesting. What is basic and simple and easy is worn out and what is complex and deep is all but ignored.

On a spiritual level we tend to treat our relationship with the Lord more like "Fun with Dick and Jane" than "The Harvard Classics of Philosophy". We desire the easy, the simple, the surface level approach. No real depth or even mental or intellectual commitment. We will read that book until the pages fall out.
Jesus on the other hand is hoping for something a little deeper from us. He is certainly looking for a relationship that would take effort and time and concentration and even meditation on His word.

I'm afraid that if God were to evaluate us as books in a cover he would find shelves full of worn out copies of Dick and Jane stories and far too few Harvard Classic volumes.

Well, it was just a thought.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This week, I'm a beach bum

I'm sorry it has taken so long to write...I'll try to do better.

Our family has never taken regular vacations together while my girls were growing up, I regret to say. We have taken our girls to the annual Southern Baptist Coventions most years, but that really is a far cry from vacation even with the one day that we would take to do something as a family.

So, two years ago a family in our church gave us a week of their time share in Pidgeon Forge which ended up being one of our best memories as a family. (sad to say for our first vacation ever as a family my girls were 24 and 20 years old)
So this week...our second vacation as a family... another family has given us a week of their time share in Virginia Beach.
I have lived an hour away from Virginia Beach all my life and I have never placed my feet on Virgina Beach sand in my whole life. Whenever someone says beach to us, we automatically think of the Outer Banks (Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, etc.) Although I have been on the board walk of Va. Beach twice before (once was in a car while we were enjoying the Christmas light tour on the boardwalk) and another time when I ate at a resturant and stepped outside on the boardwalk...but never out on the beach...until now.
This time share room is ocean front, bottom floor... 25 feet from the board walk itself. AWESOME!
Watching people dragging all of their beach stuff for 2 or 3 blocks to the beach really makes me appreciate walking out the door onto the boardwalk out on the sand and down to the water. The whole time, I have a shower, a bathroom and a refridgerator just a few yards away. So cool.
The night life is also neat... wait a minute...keep reading... walking down the strip along with hundreds of families...hearing kids scream while riding one of the amuzement rides ... seeing young people enjoying themselves... listening to live music like a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on one stage and a blues/jazz group on another and a rock band on another.

Just walking and enjoying the sights and sounds and all of it familiy friendly. People are walking, skating, blading, biking and jogging down the boardwalk all the time. I especially like the signs posted up and down the street that have #*@%* (best I can do) with a crossed out circle over it.
In other words "No Cussing" . so cool...

So, it's been a good week and we so appreciate the gift of a week at the beach...Virginia Beach that is.

Have great a week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

You are not going to believe what I saw

If I told you that I saw a rhinoceros forced off the road two days ago by a caterpillar, I suspect you would either think I am writing this from Africa and that there are some monstrous caterpillars in Africa or that I am heavily medicated.
Actually neither is true but me seeing a rhino forced off the road by a caterpillar is true and it happened on the main highway that I drive on every day.

Here's what happened...I was driving behind this very large delivery truck when all of a sudden, it veered off the road onto the shoulder and slowed down considerably before returning completely back on the road. Then I saw what was happening, a very large truck designed for carrying massive heavy construction equipment (and was doing so) backed out of a construction site into the path of the large delivery truck causing it to leave the road and scaring me half to death (figure of speech of course).

Once the truck went off the road the construction truck pulled back in and let me pass on by.

When I got down the road a little bit, I started laughing out loud as I noticed the picture on the truck in front of me. It was a large Blue Rhinoceros and this was a Blue Rhino Propane Gas company delivery truck and maybe you've guessed it by now, but the piece of equipment on the other truck was a Caterpillar brand Excavator.

So, yes, I did see a rhino forced from the road by a caterpillar.

Two ways to go with this...
#1- There are days when we feel incredibly inaffective and inadaquate, like we have nothing to offer. Or that our course before us is too difficult or the wall is too high or the giant is too big... you get the idea... but with Christ in our lives we need to understand there is nothing he cannot handle. Paul says " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Trust Him and lean on Him and when you feel like a caterpillar facing a Rhino,
let Jesus do the driving.

#2- This is a totally different perspective... Not everything is exactly as it seems. Yes I told the truth about what I saw, but the specifics of what I saw were only emblematic of what is real.
The world has a lot to say about religion and the bible and Christianity and eternity. Make sure that you are dealing with a real rhino and a real caterpillar before you accept whatever the world has to offer. Deal with what is real and you will be safe.

So, drive careful and keep your eyes open ... you never know what you are going to see.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer time and loving it

Today is the first day of summer.
Some of my best memories growing up were in the summer.
I remember going out in the morning, coming home for lunch, unless I had lunch at a friends house, then back out till supper and out again until dark. Army...cowboys and Indians...race car (do you remember ballons or playing cards in the spokes to sound like a motor)... swimming in the river or a sandpit (not a great idea there) delivering papers...cutting yards...reading comic books...summer camp.

Summer camp...we take our church youth to summer camp every year...but it's a little different from the camps I went to. Today our kids stay in college dorms or similar type housing and they have a power packed day. Live, loud and uplifting praise bands lead them in music...some high energy camp pastor comes out in shorts and flip flops and captures the campers attention with funny stories and optical illustrations, etc. One year I watched a guy blow up a cake with a fire cracker for his sermon illustration...hey, the kids payed attention. High tech games and group exercises, along with traditional stuff like softball & swimming are also utilized.

When I went to camp...canoing, swimming and softball and hiking were the extent of activities. At night we met around a camp fire and some local pastor would show up in his black dress pants and white dress shirt and skinny black tie (90 degrees out side) and after somebody played kumbaya on the guitar a few times, the "camp" preacher preached his sermon. Things have changed.

However, what hasn't changed is the life-changing message of the gospel. And one night, when that fully dressed preacher shared that story almost 40 years ago by that camp fire, my heart was stirred and I responded to his invitation and it was then that I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart.

My life has never been the same.

Man I love summer. Still making good memories.

Have a safe and happy and fruitful summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where There Is Smoke ...

Driving in to work this morning I was once again met with thick smoke in the air. This situation motivated us on Monday to purchase several Oreck air purifiers and we have upped our contribution to sinus & allergy medicines. Our lives have been altered by the smoke in the air. I don't know who gets credit for the statement, but someone has said "Where there is smoke, there is fire". True enough there is fire, in fact at least two serious wildfires burning near us. One is south of us and the other is north/northwest. And though both are serveral miles away they are changing some of the ways we are doing things. For example, I am staying inside more and have even resorted to wearing a mask while watching TV one night.

Isaiah speaks of a fire inside of himself. We often talk about being on fire or having a fire lit under ourselves. The facts I mentioned in the previous paragraph is truth in our spiritual lives. If we are on fire there will be evidence (smoke) and if there is evidence, it will affect those around us. I must ask me a I on fire and is my fire big enough to produce a significant amount of smoke and is my smoke reaching hearts and lives around me?

I do hope the wildfires are soon doused and that I will be less affected by them but I also hope the fire in me is never quenched and that I will have an affect on those around me in a positive and life altering way.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Short Timers

My wife told me about a boy (man) that grew up in her community who simply passed away with a massive heart attack yesterday. Not yet 50 years old. Her brother spoke to the man Thursday in his sign of the end coming that was apparant.

NBC's news reports have been dominated this week by Tim Russert's death at the age of 58, also of a heart attack.

Last night at 10:00 I received a call about a 13 year old boy who had suffered a head injury in a skateboard accident and possibly not going to make it ... the good news now is that he is going to be okay... and this morning I was listening to a sermon where the preacher described his day on August 16th of last year when his young wife was killed in an automobile accident.

Those are depressing stories but they serve as reminders of what James says in James 4:14 "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishs away."

Our time on earth is short for sure even if we have 80 years as in comparison to eternity.

Hebrews goes on to say that " It is appointed to men once to die but after this the judgement".

So what we believe when we are alive will determine where we end up after we are dead.

We are short timers, my prayer is that you have come to a place where you have received Jesus into your life and have surrendered yourself to him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Blog

Well, here is yet another first of something I never expected to do. Having heard of blogs, bloggers and blogging I was a little afraid of getting blogged down with all of it...SORRY...

I'm not sure I understand the whole purpose of somebody actually going to read what I write and will it add any appreciable value to their life? Well, perhaps not but maybe we can at least provide a smile or two along the way.

So...I attended the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis last week .There wasn't a great deal of controversial action and I don't think we succeeded in offending a whole lot of people this year. Except for the attempt to support an amendment that would call for the removal of all Southern Baptist children from California public Schools. I understood the heart of the man who made the motion but wholeheartedly disagreed with it as the proper action to take. I know it is an emotional issue and will only be so more and more as the days go by, but removing the influence of Christian children (light) from a world that needs Jesus (darkness) is not the answer in my opinion. The motion was soundly defeated.
Well, I hope you will appreciate the historic value of this special first BLOG!